For The Someday Book

Posts Tagged ‘malapropisms

I am not a poet, and never have been. I am just beginning to conceive of myself as a writer. I can communicate a thought or concept with clarity, and occasionally concoct a unique turn of phrase. That’s about it.

Today, however, I wish I was a poet, because B has given me an image that a poet could put to good use.

He has already developed his parents’ love of words, and his vocabulary is especially broad for a child his age—but sometimes his desire to use a new word exceeds his understanding of it. It leads to some amusing malapropisms, but also some delightful imagery and new perspectives on the world.

This morning, he told me he “nibbled out of bed.”

I asked him what he meant by “nibbling out of bed,” and he tried to demonstrate with a kind of creeping, crawling movement across the floor. When I gently tried to explain that nibbling was a word that usually describes a way of eating rather than a way of moving, he remained insistent that he nibbled out of bed this morning.

So maybe he just intended to be poetic. I let the image unfurl a bit: to nibble out of bed, to let one’s toes taste small bites of cold air from beneath the blankets, to peck at the opening of the day, rather than bite into it whole and emerge from the night in one gulp…

But I’m not a poet. Perhaps B will be someday, and I’ll save these words to give back to him to explore again. Or set them loose in the world now, for another poet to take up and carry around.

I have been singing Christmas carols to B before bed every night. A nice break from the usual repetoire of songs. Being a minister and a singer, I know multiple verses of most of the carols. He has started to sing along, and I often wonder what he is hearing in the antiquated language. The other night I figured out at least one.

At the end of singing Silent Night, with the closing line, “Jesus, Lord at Thy birth!” B. repeated it back to me: “Jesus wore a diaper!”

He thought that was hilarious, and so did I. But I also think it’s pretty profound.

Jesus wore diapers. The God of heaven and earth, Creator of all that is and was and ever will be, came to earth in the most humble of circumstances–born in a barn to a homeless unwed mother, a helpless baby needing his diaper changed just like the rest of us. For God so loved the world, that God came to live among us, to experience human life and show solidarity with all of life’s aches, pains and humiliations. Emmanuel, God-With-Us, Alleluia!


About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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  • Graham: Thank you for writing about Susan Howatch. I like it that she is described as a mesmerising story-teller on front of book, and I do agree. I had long
  • revjmk: Tammy, I'm not sure the "he" you are referring to here (Willimon, Hauerwas or me--who goes by the pronoun "she"). I'm also not sure why you think th
  • Tammy Sanders: Has no one noticed he has the 10 commandments wrong. 1. You shall have no other Gods before me. 2. You shall make no images. 3. Don’t take th

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